tonight, on a special edition of "nightline," catastrophic flooding breaching a levee in texas. citizens told to get out now. water reaching rooftops. >> i hate to think that there are people in these houses. >> survivors sleeping on cardboard in an evacuation center in houston. >> our entire neighborhood was flooded. it looked like a lake. >> we're with a team of military veterans making dramatic rescues. and a glimmer of hope in the devastation. one family welcoming new life. >> it's okay. >> and the growing threat to louisiana. on the anniversary of hurricane katrina now harvey, the storm that ravaged the texas coa
over 17,000 people in and around houston will attempt to fall asleep tonight in a makeshift bed, wondering about their homes and even the safety of family members. the monumental flooding and humanitarian disaster continues to unfold after harvey, with some areas receiving over 51 inches of rain, a record in the continental u.s. official rescue teams are overwhelmed, and now more civilian groups pitching in. abc's rob marciano joined a team of volunteer military veterans in saving stranded survivors. >> reporter: for the fourth straight day the storm that just won't go away dumped yet more water on a state still reeling. nearly 7,000 people have been rescued. >> there they are. there they are. we're coming to get you. >> oh, my goodness. >> reporter: first responders and volunteers alike racing against rising flood waters. >> look at that. >> i know. my goodness. >> reporter: trying to reach thousands of trapped families in houston and the surrounding areas.
many of those trapped to safety. helmet cameras showing the white-knuckle ride to their choppers above. in this suburb south of houston a team of volunteers from galveston used their boats to navigate rivers that were once streets. they scour this area for hours, saving family after family. >> what's up, buddy? you all right? >> reporter: my colleague eva pilgrim was there with them. >> okay. we're going to go. where are they at? >> are you okay? >> reporter: responding to cries for help from stranded families. >> when did the water start creeping up over here? >> sunday. >> sunday. >> sunday morning we woke up and it was like that and it never went down. >> reporter: among this team is michael gibson, a firefighter who came back to his old neighborhood to help. he's been rescuing people here for four days. today gibson is more than just first responder. he's a worried son. >> my parents told m
in the water. >> reporter: weaving through a graveyard of cars, he finally reaches their home. >> he's coming. >> reporter: and gets them to safety. to the west in another houston suburb we find a team of military veterans now volunteering to serve their country in a new way, traversing flood waters to help families. >> this is where we're comfortable. we're really good at being miserable. we're really good at being dirty. here you know, we're not getting bullets whizzed by our ears. >> reporter: beau burns is here with team rubicon. >> you guys good? >> reporter: a non-profit that responds to disasters around the world. when you go into a zone like this, you've got multiple teams, you do a rescue operation. what are the risks involved here? >> lack of information i'm worried about. lack of communication i'm worried about because water's getting ready to rise and these people don't want to leave their homes. big family, little family. >> reporter: in one home surrounded by rising waters we find a family of seven. they're emot
them out. >> they have no idea what they're going through, but i can imagine. >> reporter: and brings them to safety. >> we're coming right back. yeah. >> we're coming right back. >> and you can come back with us if you want to help us. lend a hand. we could use you. >> reporter: the emotion there is just palpable. this family's having a hard time with this one. i'm glad team rubicon's here to help them out. powerful stuff. these rescues are critical. hurricane harvey has already claimed lives. one of its victims police sergeant steve perez, who went missing trying to drive into work. >> we couldn't find him. and once our dive team got there, it was too treacherous to go under and look for him. >> reporter: and the death toll is expected to rise as many people are still missing. six of rick saldivar's families, four children, the youngest just 6 years old, and their great-grandparents, were trapped in their van and swept away by flood waters. rick's brother is believed to be the only
rick spoke to my colleague tom llamas. >> it's been a nightmare just waiting. >> how's your brother doing? >> he's blaming himself of course. he's blaming himself. every time we go to hang up he says i'm so sorry. it's not your fault. you didn't know. >> reporter: rescuers using every measure possible to reach the displaced. this grandmother being rescued out of her flooded home on jet-ski. on rain-soaked streets a caravan of school buses escorted by police. this family had to evacuate their home and a neighbor's. >> we called and we got rescued probably around 11:00. >> who took you guys here? >> a school bus. >> reporter: they were brought to lakewood church. the 52,000-member megachurch founded by pastor joel osteen, who after criticism yesterday as to whether the church would take displaced residents tweeted this morning, "lakewood's doors are open and we are receiving anyone who needs shelter." >> this is the first day that we've really been able to because up until about 2:00 yesterday or maybe a little before that the
so you couldn't really get to this building at all. and this is the first day that we felt that we could -- we could actually facilitate a collection point. >> reporter: clothes and toiletries piling in from volunteers. air mattresses line the floor of their gymnasium. >> this will be the first area we'll stage in, and then we'll move on to areas, other areas as well. >> reporter: across the city at the houston convention center some evacuees are brought in by dump trucks. almost all of them have lost everything. >> our entire neighborhood was flooded. it looked like a lake. like we were living on a lake. >> reporter: 5,000 cots line the conference floor but there are 9,000 people here. city officials say they have things under control. >> we've had a very quiet night. with 9,000 people you're going to have a couple minor incidents. but they have all been minor this evening. people are sleeping well. even the people who are out on cardboard and blankets. >> reporter: there's a heavy police presence to protect the precious liv
children, covered in blankets, their families trying to get some milk and some rest. after the nightmare they've lived through. >> my one objective is to take care of the women and the children. and yesterday we didn't have any of this. so to see how far we've come in 24 hours has been amazing. >> lots of babies? >> lots of babies, yes. we had a two-week-old. we had morltthers in labor yesterday. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm rob marciano in kirkwood, texas. >> and you can tune in to "gma" tomorrow for an interview with joel osteen. the pastor of that houston megachurch. but we turn now to abc's matt gutman, who tells us even in the midst of a devastating storm life goes on. >> reporter: for the weekes family the hurricane came precious few days before another arrival. >> you are pregnant and you're going to have a c section with -- >> reporter: after being forced to evacuate their home in port aransas, texas five days
>> if you can open that door, that would be great. >> reporter: -- are ready for a long-awaited procedure. >> all right. let's go have a baby. >> reporter: we first met them on friday. danielle was nine months pregnant. like tens of thousands of residents that night, she was rattled. >> but we're just hoping for the best. >> and what about your home? >> we actually live in an rv. we're pretty worried that we won't have a home to go back to. >> reporter: by saturday it was safe to go outside. so the weekes piled into their truck determined to find out what happened to their home. >> trying to check on our home. >> we've got an active search and rescue going on right now. no one's allowed in until after we get that taken care of. >> reporter: news the weekes cannot go home to see if they even have a home is an emotional gut punch,
in tears. >> so we're going to go check this out for you. and you're okay with that? >> yes. >> reporter: but authorities would allow us as members of the press past that roadblock to see the mind-numbing wreckage. >> oh, my god. that's the trailer park. >> reporter: every trailer gutted, ripped open, contents strewn on the soggy turf. it took a few minutes, but eventually we found the weekes' home, or at least what was left of it. >> this is the worst that they could have hoped for. >> reporter: later danielle and william asked us to show them the video. >> you're okay to see this? >> yeah. >> the worst part is seeing all the kids' stuff on the ground. >> reporter: the closer the
>> there's a musical toy right there. and that was in the house. >> that's the baby's blanket that i was making for her. >> reporter: but this morning -- a little jolt of joy. >> it's okay. >> reporter: laura lynn weekes born 7 pounds 12 ounces and 21 1/2 inches tall. >> she's beautiful. >> reporter: she's swaddled and snoozing. >> i got her out and instantly started crying. it was a great moment. >> reporter: best cry you ever heard, huh? >> yes. yes. she's definitely got some lungs on her, though. >> reporter: still pale and in pain from the c section, danielle says the family will return to port aransas. the place they live is still surrounded by loss and destruction. but thi
with something even more precious in their arms. >> you guys have weathered your worst nightmare. and now you have this. >> yes. >> what's that like? >> definitely the blessing that came out of everything. >> she's safe. she held through the storm. she's a blessing. she is. >> reporter: i'm matt gutman in corpus christi, texas. when we come back, president trump flying in to texas. his message of hope for the lone star state. and on this anniversary of katrina, new orleans now preparing for a powerful punch from harvey. my belly pain and constipation? i could build a small city with all the over-the-counter products i've used. enough! i've tried enough laxatives to cover the eastern seaboard. i've climbed a mount everest of fiber. probiotics? enough! (avo) if you've had enough, tell your doctor what you've tried and how long you've been at it. linzess works differently
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you know, it's been 12 years since hurricane katrina ravaged new orleans. a disaster that critics believe was aggravated by a poor response from the federal government. now on the anniversary of that storm harvey is poised to hit the city. tonight the lingering question, are officials up to the challenge? day 4 and the flood waters of hurricane harvey still rising relentlessly across southeast texas tonight. first responders and everyday neighbors struggling through rescue after harrowing rescue. >> there they are. there they are. coming to get you. >> reporter: levees breached in houston. the devastation described as worst than the worst case scenario. which is why air force one touched down today 220 miles south of houston, in relatively unscathed corpus christi. president trump accompanied by the first ly
the ground in texas as soon as possible, assessing the first major natural disaster of his presidency. first stop, a local firehouse. >> this was of epic proportion. nobody's ever seen anything like this. it's a real team. and we want to do it better than ever before. we want to be looked at in five years, in ten years from now as this is the way to do it. >> reporter: after the meeting the president greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters, not unlike a campaign rally. >> i want to thank you for coming out. we're going to get you back and operating immediately. thank you, everybody. what a crowd. what a turnout. >> reporter: and with the texas flag in hand the president leaving the crowd with a hopeful tone. his next and final stop, austin, where he toured the state's emergency operations center. >> the president of the united states. mr. president. >> reporter: just days before he had assured that texas would "be up and running very quickly." but during his visit today a slightly different forecast.
long term. nobody's ever seen anything this long and nobody's ever seen this much water. >> reporter: at no point did the president directly address victims. but the white house saying tonight that he will return this saturday. as brief as it was, president trump's visit a sharp contrast to a previous president. when george bush 43 detoured over new orleans on his way back from vacation from his ranch in texas in this now iconic photo. but he didn't land. it was called a metaphor for an out of touch administration slow to act in the face of disaster. >> we want help! >> all the people you see are dying. >> reporter: today marks 12 years to the day since hurricane katrina slammed into new orleans. the images from katrina now burned into our collective memory. >> this is a national disaster. get every doggone greyhound bus line in the country and get their asses moving to new orleans. >> reporter: thousands making their way to the superdome, which had been turned into a
this is a hellhole. >> reporter: people in deplorable conditions waiting for days to be evacuated. >> i've been on my feet now for about 48 hours straight. they fed us a little bit, but still it's not enough. it's no coordination right now. you look at what we see. it's total chaos right now. >> reporter: katrina's devastating impact on below sea level new orleans was compounded when the levees broke, representing a catastrophic engineering failure. then head of fema michael brown became a national punching bag for the failure to anticipate the extent of the disaster. >> you knew it was going to be a force 5 storm that was going to hit in that region. why didn't you? >> when the levees did break, we were already moving in and then had to move back out. and as we began to do the evacuations from the superdome, all of a sudden literally thousands of other people started showing up at other places. and we were not prepared for that. >> reporter: words that would prove prophetic 12 years later for houston's own hurricane. though the levees here have bee
thousands of successful rooftop rescues have taken place in texas. lessons perhaps learned from katrina and other hurricanes already having an impact. >> one of the most important changes that has happened from katrina to today has been an important change in the skill, competence, and expertise within the federal agencies. >> reporter: this time around fema and a variety of search and rescue operations in houston seemingly better prepared. here at the houston convention center 9,000 people crowded in with just 5,000 beds to share. some sleeping on the floor. but there is ample clothing, food, water, and heavy security. >> this is not the superdome. all eyes are on houston, and so are mine. >> reporter: in the end katrina cost $100 billion in damage and took the lives of nearly 2,000 people. >> hungry. >> reporter: kate beard is a katrina survivor. she was just 16 when her home in new orleans was destroyed by the hurricane. >> and i came home to an
house with every content on our front yard. it was one of the hardest things i've ever seen. >> reporter: she and her husband moved to dickinson, texas last year. but as fate would have it, as harvey approached she was forced to evacuate again. today on the 12th anniversary of katrina she is back in new orleans, now six months pregnant. but she may find herself in harm's way yet again. >> i came to new orleans, and now we're under a flood watch over here right now. >> reporter: back in texas rescue missions continue. in houston this evening for the first time no rain. but folks there bracing for the worst, unsure of what might lie below the flood waters. we'll be right back.
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no! i'm not writing down somebody who's retired! baby, i'm changing my name to hot momma. that's not how this works... the labor day sale is on now at havertys. life looks good and welcome back. in response to hurricane harvey we have a programming note. thursday our parent company disney will hold a day of giving. a fund-raising effort that begins with our local affiliates in the morning and continues with us here at "nightline." then throughout the day
freeform and radio disney as well as on all our social media platforms. to kick things off disney and our houston station ktrk have committed $1 million to the american red cross in support of hurricane relief. you can donate right now. just visit abc news.com. thanks for watching abc news. and as always, we're online at our "nightline" facebook page. good night, america. >> what do you get when you combine amazing contestants with mind-blowing questions and a chance to win $1 million? 30 minutes of drama you don't want to miss. this is "who wants to be a millionaire." [cheers and applause] [dramatic music] ♪
hey, everybody, welcome to the show. you guys ready to play "millionaire" today? [cheers and applause] me too! having seen almost every episode of "millionaire," our returning contestant is a super fan who could not be more prepared. from brooklyn, new york, please welcome back laura o'dea. [cheers and applause] welcome back. >> hi. >> come on in. [cheers and applause] laura is back, a woman who has seen just about every episode from regis all the way through. what else do when you're not watching "millionaire"? >> um, so i work for a publishing company. >> okay. >> i'm a computer tech at a publishing company. >> well, you're playing pretty good. you're at $5,000, you're having a good game, you are just 9 questions away from $1 million. >> [chuckles] >> 5 more, and you get to that $50,000 threshold. the good news is you're at a threshold now. you're safe--nothing can take that $5,000 away from you, and you have two lifelines yet to be used, so let's mp